In many countries, Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) for Covid-19 is widespread. They cost a fraction of other tests, don’t need medical professionals to administer and give you a response within 15 minutes. They are not quite as accurate as other tests, but some are 98% accurate for positive and negative results. They are not as accurate as saliva and nasal tests but they are very useful in testing those with no symptoms.
In some countries such as Austria and Slovakia they have rolled RATs out to the entire population.
As Christmas approaches, many families are under huge stress as some family members may be unvaccinated. They are feeling pressured to ban unvaccinated family members from visiting, which is of course the opposite of what Christmas should be about.
RATs could reduce these stresses by allowing an unvaccinated person to get tested on the way to a family gathering. That way families don’t need to exclude their own at Christmas time.
But the Government is killing off RATs through bureaucracy. In many countries you can buy RATs at a supermarket and do it yourself. In NZ the Government decided that for now they could only be sold and administered through pharmacies. Now that might have been okay, if you could just turn up to a pharmacy, buy a test, have it done, and leave 15 minutes later. In fact this is what the Government told pharmacies would happen.
But at the last minute, new advice has gone out replacing the old advice. Now people need to book an appointment in advance with a pharmacy to have a RAT, and the pharmacist has to get into full PPE to administer the test. This will make it expensive, cumbersome and a deterrent to getting one. Remember, in many countries you can just buy them in a supermarket. And those who get a RAT are by definition asymptomatic as if you have symptoms you’d get a nasal swab test or saliva test. So requiring pharmacists to get into full PPE for a Rapid Antigen Test is absolutely counter-productive.
So once again the Government is stuffing things up with last minute rule changes,. with no appreciation of practicality.